Companion vs Service Animals

While shopping for condos, one thing you may choose to filter for is whether or not the condo is pet-friendly. The decision to have a condominium be pet-friendly or not is entirely up to the condominium board and/or the owners to state that in the bylaws.

But, did you know that there is a legal distinction between your companion pet and a service animal?

Service animals, commonly dogs, are any dog that are trained and qualified to assist or perform certain tasks for a person with any visible or non-visible disability. Examples of what a service dog may do can include: open doors for someone with mobility challenges, interrupt obsessive behaviours of someone with obsessive-compulsive disorder, alerting someone with diabetes when their blood sugar drops too low.

As per provincial legislation, qualified service dogs are permitted to access any location where the public is allowed. This includes malls, restaurants, movie theatres, taxis and buses, and also pet-restricted condos!

Companion animals on the other hand are just your furry family pet. They do not have any specific tasks or jobs, nor have they undergone any formal training and certification processes. They are not granted the same legal rights as service dogs and thus may be subject to certain limitations, such as pet-restricted condos.

One thing to look out for even when your condo states that it does allow pets is whether the condo has any restrictions in place regarding what kind of animals are permitted, size, breed, quantity, etc. Be sure to also follow up with your condo bylaws if you need to submit a request for pet approval prior to moving in or bringing home a new animal!